In January 2010, The Carpet Museum Trust was delighted to be one of 350 museums selected to display an object from their collection in the BBC History of the World project. There could be no other choice than the last ‘Kidderminster Weave’ carpet actually made in Kidderminster.
John Pearsall and John Broom were Stuff weavers and are credited as being the first weavers of ‘Kidderminster’ carpet in 1735. It was a coarse flat weave, woven mainly with woollen yarns, patterned with the design visible on both sides in reverse colours so that the carpet was reversible.
It was more affordable than the expensive hand-knotted or pile carpets available only to the wealthy and was instrumental in bringing carpet to a wider market. The opening of the Staffordshire & Worcestershire canal gave access to world-wide export and so, Kidderminster at the heart of the country, soon became the Woven Carpet Capital of the World.
The Kidderminster company, T&A Naylor Ltd, were established power-loom weavers of ‘Kidderminster’ carpet but in 1932 when moving premises they decided it was time to discontinue the product because of a declining market. In 1932 their looms wove the last length of ‘Kidderminster.’ However, the town continued to dominate the woven market with other weaves and carpet is still produced in the town today.
A length of the last piece woven in 1932 is on display in the Museum of Carpet.